How can a mother lose custody? For some, the idea is absolutely unfathomable. To be honest, not long ago, this was extraordinarily rare. Mothers were presumed to get custody, and when they didn’t very unique circumstances applied. Sometimes, very sad ones applied.
Today, it isn’t written in stone that mothers will retain full custody. This post explores what can cause a mother to lose custody, how she can prevent that from happening, and what she can do to regain custody.
Colorado Child Custody Laws Explained
Colorado child custody laws are actually referred to as parental responsibilities. This is an umbrella term that includes time spent with the child, decisions made on the child’s behalf, and responsibility for the care and well-being of the child. Courts determine how parental responsibilities will be split between the child’s parents. In rare cases, neither parent is found fit and the responsibilities are given to a third party, or the state.
When someone has lost custody, this may mean one of the following:
- They have lost primary residential custody but still see the child and have parental rights.
- They have lost primary residential custody and have limited visitation and rights.
- They have lost all rights of parental responsibilities as well as visitation. Depending on the circumstances, this may be further escalated to parental rights termination.
When a mother loses custody, the child’s other parent may have sole parental responsibilities, the child may become a ward of the state, or the child may be placed in the custody of a relative.
Legal Reasons for Losing Child Custody
Colorado uses the best interests of the child when deciding custody. The gender of the parent isn’t taken into consideration. As a result, a father may be awarded residential custody. However, in most cases the mother would still retain her rights and responsibilities. If she loses those, it may be due to:
- Failure to maintain a stable home environment.
- Drug or alcohol use.
- Abuse or neglect.
- Failure to follow the directives of the court.
- Legal issues.
- Making an effort to damage the relationship between the child and the other parent.
A mother might also lose primary residential custody if the other parent’s home and lifestyle is deemed to be a better environment for the child. The court may consider proximity to the child’s school and other relatives, and whether or not there is adequate room in the house for the child.
How To Keep and Regain Custody Rights
A mother who wishes to keep or regain custody of her child must prioritize the best interests of that child. Courts are most likely to consider their wishes if they do this. To help themselves, mothers should:
- Work with a qualified attorney who understands child custody in Colorado.
- Follow court directives including attending classes and court dates.
- Complying with visitation orders.
- Working cooperatively with the other parent either directly or through the courts.
- Taking care of their own physical and mental health.
- Providing for their child emotionally and financially within the bounds of any court orders.
- Providing a stable home.
- Resolving any personal or legal issues that could be used against them during custody proceedings.
For any parent, losing custody can be devastating. Fortunately, help is available. A qualified family attorney can help you to resolve your custody case with the best possible results. If you are struggling with this issue, we are here to be your ally.